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United States 39, Blair 31, Us 24, Napolitano 21, Leiter 17, Collins 17, U.s. 15, Yemen 12, Haiti 9, Mccain 7, America 7, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab 7, Europe 7, Detroit 7, Dhs 6, Nigeria 6, Umar Farouk 6, United 5, Amsterdam 5, Tsa 5,
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  CSPAN    Today in Washington    News/Business. News.  

    January 22, 2010
    6:00 - 9:00am EST  

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hoping to adopt at some stage. it's a very rich b@ rbrbrbrb message that the the europeans and united states are going to continue to cooperate so as to be more effective in preventing
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radical islamic terrorism and prosecuting it when it arises. we shared information with secretary napolitano. and in due course, people spoke and your contributed to that debate. we also came up with an joint statement. it's a eu-u.s. statement. it's an important resolution. it's based on aviation security in particular. and you'll get that text at the end of this press conference. we mention a number of points that are dear to us all. we're talking here about the risk of terrorists, basically the same risk on both sides of the -- i think we want to protect our principals and values. our way of life. and those attacks of course by terrorism. we also share -- say that we share responsibility for fighting terrorism to ensure safety and security for our
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citizens. i think we all share many of these international values. we talk about a number of objectives and measures. objectives have a lot to do with aviation security. if we've learned anything from the spoiled attack over detroit is that flighted still subject to terrorism. we tried to include this in a sense of general objective. obviously those will be developed later on. we want to improve security. that means we to identify better those might potentially be terrorist. we have to identify better explosives that might get through our systems at the airport. we want to improve airport security system in general and also improve flight security in particular. and based on those objectives, that there are different working
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groups involved. and there'll be discussed at the meeting in march. the actual meeting between the eu and u.s. when talking about security. secondedly, information exchange. thirdly, research. that's very important. we have to care out research on how to improve our systems on a day-to-day basis. and providing help to third countries. they suffer from terrorism. they are at origin from what we are suffering at as well. those are the thing that is we will be dealing with. they are very important. in summary, let me say we are going to make a greater effort. obviously, things happen, you learn lessons from everything that happens, and we're going to make an ever more concerted effort. i'll round off at this point. basically, what i'm saying is we're going to work together. we'll be working more intensively in order to fight
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terrorism. because we know if we cooperate, if we improve technology, if we exchange information, then we have the best guarantees preventing these attacks. i'll leave it at that and get the thought of the vice president. >> thank you very much. i'd like to thank you for an excellent meeting. glv >> translator: -- >> translator: i'd like to say it's an excellent starting point. we intend to come forward with a communication of the next through months. new in that communication, we will really try to give shape and body to the content of the european union security
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strategy. and i would like to say right away that we want to create a real common mentality for the internal security strategy. for all of those people who are involved, all of the stakeholders. we would try to build up a mold the of the kind of information that we need by whom it will be processed, and what conditions. while respecting privacy and personal data. and i do hope this will also lead to us setting up a fund for internal security. so that we can channel more support financially into the technology to be required. so that's as far as the european internal strategy goes. my feeling is that that kind of strategy will very much give the eu citizens a feeling that we
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are getting to grips with the sort of threats which the minister has talked about just now. now i'd like to say a few words about the combat against terrorism. i'd very much like to thank secretary napolitano for being with us todayed. and this is an ongoing process. the new dialogue was started up in washington at the end of 2009. with a new cooperation statement. and i think it's taking shape, and evermore so. and this is demonstrated by a meeting today with our american friended. we will only be able to combat terrorism if we act together. >> i'd just like to tell you a little bit about the work that the european commission is doing. we're going to speed up the protection of our report on good
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use -- proper use of technologies in particular, body scanners. however, the fight has to kick in at various levels. i heard some urgent appeals at various levels. several ministers said we should be thinking in terms after fresh proposals on european pnr system. we did come up with some stumbling blocks earlier on the part of some members states which was originally submitted in 2007. now we have a new frame work upon which to work. we have a treaty, we have qualified majority voting, we have co-decision procedure with
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the european policy. with the new backdrop, we're going to take up a new proposal on the prn data. we believe that many ministers are very keen to support this new european prn system. now on the research front, we put 1.4 billion euros aside for research for the ongoing period. we intend to give assistance to the countries hand in hand to the united states of america. i'll leave it at that. but i think you will see that this informal meeting has given a considerable boost to the european commission to get this work underway as soon as possible. thank you very much. secretary you have the floor. >> thank you, thank you again
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minister for your invitation for me to join all of the nations here for today's eu meetings. i thank you as well for opening the agenda to include the important matters before us today. we've had a very robust set of discussions about strengthening the international aviation security system. and, of course, one of the catalyst for the renewed sense of urgency here is the attack of december 25 on an airliner bound from amsterdam to detroit. and white that was an attack on a u.s.-flagged carrier over the united states or do the united states city, the fact of the matter is that there were passengers on the airliner from over 17 different countries of
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the world. in fact, over 100 of the passengers on that airliner where from countries other than the united states. so this is the essence of an international issue. all responsible nations have a steak here to make sure that we improve, agree, move forward in at least four different areas. one is the collection of information and analysis of the information. the second is the sharing of information and the collaboration of things such as passenger abet thing. the third is raising collectively, international aviation security standards. of and the forth is development of deployment of information in
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the screening technology and our commitment to put our best forward for the future generations of screening and technology. afterall, al qaeda has used and is using it's best mines against data national system -- the international aviation system. now we must do no less. >> there are others on the podium with us today and the meeting this morning on the strong advocates for improving coordination and strengthening the bonds of aviation security. we are willing not only to work with the eu and the countried rented here today, but we are also setting meetings with
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leader in africa and western hemisphere with iko, which is the body of united nations that deals with the aviation standards. this is a problem, an issue, a challenge that all of us share in. we must approach it jointly among the responsibility nations and leaders of the world. and we are committed to do so. we are very gratified by the tone and tenor of this morning's remarks. and the work that was done here today, i think it bodes very, very well for the unification of our efforts for the future. >> thank you very much, janet. >> translator: we have together with us today the two country that is are part of the
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trio of presidencies. we've prepared a program together. nowadays the program spans three presidency. we have the home from belgium and hungary. we are at all your disposal for any questions. [speaking in native language] >> translator: how can we talk about other countries that use body scanners and other that don't believe in such? >> you are having a serious of bilateral meetings with switzerland. are you asking with switzerland the same level of commitment that you're asking to the member states of the european union? are you trying to get bilateral
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movement beside what you get from the european union? thank you. >> yes. thank you for your question. ! what i think i tried to explain this yesterday when i spoke to you. this whole topic of body scanners was not intended to be a specific topic in this council. and it's not -- it will be the transport. we also have to remember that we're awaiting a report of several reports from the commission on this subject, on the subject of the actual efficacy of the effectiveness of the body scanners, possible health implications, health impact, and the whole issue of privacy. flying with the rules of privacy, which exist in the european union. we will await those reports from the commission. we will look at them as soon as they come in. that is basically our approach. and the eu will take a view on
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that when we have the information at our fingertips. d%@ rbrb)rbrbrbrbe are commission has quite likely said, several people have said to commission plead speed up the work that we can have a prn system for europe. we already have one between the european union and the united states. things are going well. we're going to work on it even further. however, we don't have it for europe.
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we've urged the commission to speed things up. so we can have european prn and improve our security and information system. which is there to protect our borders. we already have a number of systems in place. we want to make it function more effectively. >> it is intended to be part of a dialogue and not to reach a specific agreement on my one item or another. let me just said -- i said we were focusing in my remarks. i said we were focusing on movement in four areas, information collection and analysis, information sharing
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and collaboration, international security standards, and deployment -- and fourth, deployment development and information and screening technology. the first three of irrespective of full body scanners. the fourth utilizing whole body scanners only as one array of tools that nation's countries can employ. in the united states we are pushing ahead. we have 40 full body scanners at our domestic airports. we will have at least 450 within the next year. but i don't think that this -- the issues here about international aviation security pivot only on whole body
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scanners. they pivot fundamentally on the unity of effort among responsible nation that is al qaeda will not be able to carry out a successful terrorist attack on an airplane. they want to -- we want to deprive them of that opportunity. now what we do we need together and how do we do it together to minimize any risk at all to the citizenry of all of our countries that they will be able to successfully carry out such an attack. they clearly need to do so. >> yes, toni connolly from irish television. >> hi. question if you ms. napolitano. you mention that body scanners are a range of a number of elements. if we are going to focus on body scanners, is it your preference
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that the uniform eu approach to body scanners. if that is so, given the passage of the pnr legislation, are you worried about the kind of resistant that you are going to get on privacy and decency grounds. >> we are not here seeking a uniform approach on body scanners. again, body scanners really was not the topic at all of this morning's session. [inaudible conversation] >> ms. napolitano, you were stressing the importance of the body scanners. you know it is going to be difficult to get the common position in the eu, certainly
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not in the immediate future. it will take time. are you going to wait until the eu agrees, or are you expecting some members states to make a special effort like the uk and netherlands. i'd like to ask mr. barro, does it make sense if people take individual measures on body scanners which is obviously a delicate issue when it comes to privacy on citizens? >> well, let me say again, we will not discuss body scanners. nor do i think it is essential to improve the level of international aviation security. i do think they are helpful from the united states point of view. and that's why i stated that in the united states we are moving forward. and we're moving forward with a
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collaborative to employ body scanners. we believe some of the privacy issues that have been raised are dealt with with effectively by the newer it rations of the technologies. and we believe always in this balance one strikes between privacy and safety and security that that balance here with the current it ration of the technologies and improving forward. that balance mitigates in favor of the deploying the scanners. so the united states government is investing in them. we are deploys them in our domestic airports. but these meetings today were not about the united states requiring anything. indeed, what they were premised upon was that this is something that the united states, the uk,
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ireland, france, other countries represented in the press corp here today. that good european p. and our
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brave private data exploitation would be just as a fact that. >> to question to secretary napolitano from financial times germany. you told us a little bit -- you told us something about information security. could you go into detail about what you were talking about. and on your fourth point, you told us that you talked about the new tech knowledge he is, but apart from body scanners where did you talk about and what are you referring to? >> information sharing takes a body of forms. it can be information relative specific to individuals who may be leaving one end of the world transferring or traveling to another. all the way to including new technics, new methodologies, new modes of operation that are
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being perceived and developed. for example, one evolution that the christmas bomber represents is the evolution from a large conspiracy, very complex in nature to the recruitment of a single individual for whom there is little, if any, derogatory information with the idea that that sort of an individual can exploit gaps in the international aviation system more easily than a group of people can. with respect to whether technologies, there is explosive detection technologies, for example. there is things for examples such as swapping technologies that enable one to see whether somebody has recently been in touch with explosives. there are better devices that allow us to ascertain the
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composition of not just metals that are attempted to be on an airplane or liquids and with the composition of the liquid or powders that are attempted to be brought onto a plane that do not -- are independent of the whole body scanner. so all of those are other kinds of technologies. and might i add that there are some not nutech analogies that are very fact day of good the advance exchange of information is something that we have had for years that the bilateral level. it's something now that the e.u. is taking up with respect to within the e.u. countries itself. simple exchange of passenger data and particularly if we make more consistent and standard what kinds of basic house and your data will be exchanged very
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helpful. the use of canines, the use of dogs can be very helpful in an airport. and everything always has to be layered. it's intelligence and information sharing ahead of time. of them permission sharing about travel records as a traveler arrives at the airport. it different types of screening and other methodologies used at the airport, all geared to one fundamental thing. and that is to preserve the safety of the air environment. >> sorry. just one question. is there going to be like say transatlantic council between the specialists from here and there or is there -- are you going to create an institution like that? >> we already have signed a science and technology agreement prior to the christmas bomber, which was to enable and
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facilitate the joint investment in and sharing a technological innovations in the security arena. what we need to do now is take some of these agreements, which already has been reached and move them more quickly into implementation. >> i have a question. i will begin with mr. rubalcaba. you have this joint statement. by the way, i come from portugal to the news agency in portugal. you talked about this joint statements that you're issuing today and you're trying to achieve a balance here between security and respect for citizens rights. in the past, that specific rawboned has been one of the things that has kept the united states and the e.u. apart somewhat spirit of the
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opposition got closer together? has something changed in the way the e.u. ballet and what that has to achieve or the way which the united states has viewed it rx for the members of states are very concerned about that. >> well, you will see the joint statement in a moment when it distributed. and so you will have the exact wording on that. what i think we need to say is that we are working together all the more intensively and we are bringing together our point of view. it's true that in the past we've had her differences on such subjects. step by step, however, i believe we are overcoming those difficulties and we are reaching agreements. now, what happened today in council is this. basically, we've been talking for some years about establishing a common data
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protection scheme for the united states and europe so that we can really exchange data, which we have in a position but the two have not exchanged. today we have asked of the commission to work on this to make further processed and the presidency to have honest we need to step things up yet. we've agreed that we must work towards a european pnr, which is absolutely vital as an instrument. in the pnr basically constitutes the best possible data exchange system that we have if we are to protect flights between our countries. now we still have a bit of a paradox of course. the fact is we already have a pnr with the united states. so airlines are supplying data to the united states on flights leaving europe for the u.s. and yet we don't have one against ourselves as the there weren't any risk that a terrorist might
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take a flight from london to madrid here is that it is a little bit of a paradox and we need to work on@@@ >> can you repeat the question please, i'm sorry. [inaudible] >> of the balance that should exist between respectful individual rights and securities that has been an item of differences in the past. have they become the closer in terms of that perception?
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>> well, one thing that has happened in the length of the time that has elapsed with respect to discussing the various privacy related issues is a greater opportunity to clarify what the american law on privacy is as i think there've been a lot of misconceptions about that. and as well to reiterate that privacy and civil liberties are american values as well. indeed in some respects, the american law district. then some european countries that have been objecting some of the agreements on privacy grounds. and part of that is just getting people together to work through these issues and to educate each other as to what privacy
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protections there are, recognizing that there are security needs that are most urgent. the >> this is for the spanish minister. do you think we need to perform. i'm available every day to talk to you about domestic matters and would like to state to the other business for today. >> spanish minister, have we been talking about anti-terrorism and how we can better coordinate to combat anti-terrorism? >> if they get to manage to get to the united states illegally they would be sent directly to guantánamo. i would like to know if you can
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extend that information? thank you. >> translator: on the question that was directed to me. we haven't talked about anti-terrorism. i discussed that in the bilateral meeting i had with the french minister and that will be a minister -- bilateral administer with the portuguese this afternoon. i think it is going extremely well but there is always room for improvement. >> on ed, first of all i understand that spain lost a police officer in haiti, so let me extend my sympathies and condolences there. it is a natural disaster of almost unbelievable extent. we been heavily involved at our department. the coast guard is part of our
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department. we were the first on scene from the united states. >> , customs and border protection, ice, cif committees are all acronyms that those in the u.s. are familiar with, art uncheck all large components that have been on the ground working every day through usaid and with minutia and that the u.n. in terms of providing immediate disaster relief as we build towards a long-term recovery in haiti. with respect to your specific question, last friday i granted what's called temporary protect its status to haitians already in the united states as of january 12, the date of the earthquake. that is an intermediate immigration status. it says that those who were already in the country him even if they are already in the united states illegally goods day. they could work, they could
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qualify for certain benefits and the like. and that temporary protected status would last for 18 months, which is the maximum i am prohibited to grant under the u.s. law. at the same time, however, we reiterated to haitians who were not in the united states as of january 12, that if they came after that date they would not be entitled to that intermediate integration status. tps is a humanitarian part of our immigration law. it's designed so that those in a country that has been ravaged by natural disaster like katie was, that we are not returning people to that country. that would be using up or drawing down on their resources. in addition, it's a form of
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indirect economic assistance because now that they are able to work in the united states, they can send remittances back to family and family members in haiti itself. tps is very different than any other category within the u.s. immigration law. it is a humanitarian part about the, an expression of our compassion to haiti and what has happened. those -- for those who attempt to enter the united states illegally after tps there are plans in place in terms of how they will be dealt with. but the notion that they will be returned or where they are returned is not something that is an appropriate topic for this meeting.
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>> translator: okay, last question if you don't mind. i come from. i like to ask mrs. napolitano. after the detroit attempt, are you thinking about having guards on guard the sky marshals on board planes again? and i'd like to put a question to mr. rubalcaba. spanish prime minister said that you will wait for a common position from europe before you decide on installing whole body scanners. now do or that prime minister. do you think it would be a good idea for all europeans to wait until there is a common position until they install these body scanners? >> let me answer the federal air marshal question first. we never stopped having federal
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air marshals on planes coming from the u.s. internationally or vice versa. what we are doing is increasing the number of flights that are covered by u.s. federal air marshals service. and that includes also increasing air marshals service overall which includes domestic as well as international flights. but in particular, international flight increasing the coverage they are. >> translator: yes, i did say something about this earlier. i did say that we were looking at the whole issue of use of certain technologies. obviously, we are also looking at the possibility of hosting
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people on board the aircraft in order to maintain security. i think it all leads to the concept of having a common framework with the appropriate guidelines so that we could all make the best possible use of such security measures. and i do stress once again, we shouldn't get hung up on the specific immediate issues. i think we really need to work towards the european pnr system. as the minister said, particular the u.k., germany, and the united -- france were talking about the importance of that this morning. minister, on the question you put to me, i just like to stress something that secretary napolitano genocide. it's true that it's been an argument about body scanners and so people are attending to hone in on that. however, when we're talking
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about protect you in a fight, there are many different measures that are disposed of in many different technologies which can be used in natural array, not letting passengers through, not letting explosives through, making sure that your airport has a safe system and that the flights have a safe system of security. and all those measures required a considerable number of steps and appropriate technologies. now one thing that's been demonstrated very clearly by the foiled attempt of the flight is that al qaeda and al qaeda type franchises are very active here that they're seeking loopholes. they're seeking week area in our security. we have to get ahead of them. they will always be looking for weak spots and we have to put everything we have available at the service of airport security and airline security in this
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case. we need to redouble the efforts we have already begun so that we can improve our security protection. once again, i would say that you will find this in the joint statement that you're going to receive in a moment. and it's a very clear indication of this support shift between the united states and the e.u. it's a very clear demonstration of our joint commitment and we hope that in our joint meeting later on this year, in the spring, we'll be able to adopt more practical decisions. now, just one final word about the whole body scanners. i really think this is something we'll have to discuss at a european level and it doesn't have to be discussed and home affairs but also in justin minister counselor. it's not something i was just ministers either. with jumping on board the parliament. we have to react without being overhasty, but we mustn't carry
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either. we have to do it as soon as we possibly can, but we have to do this on the basis of what we have requested from the mission. the commission is preparing reports on the different points of view, effectiveness, house, issues, and whether it ties in with all the rules that we have according to privacy and personal data protection. were going to look that that
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christmas day, 2009, a man slipped to the multilayered defenses we have directed since 9/11 to stop attacks against our homeland, and boarded a northwest flight 253 from
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amsterdam to detroit over which he attempted a suicide bombing. a faulty detonator and a courageous and quick action by the passengers and crew prevented the deaths of 290 board -- to under 90 people aboard that plane and many more on the ground below. we were lucky, we were very lucky. because it is not in five years since the enactment of the 9/11 commission recommendations for intelligence reform, senator collins and i decided last year to initiate a series of oversight hearings this year to examine how well these reforms have been implemented and whether it further -- whether further changes and all law, regulation, or implementation are needed to protect our country. that is the inquiry we begin today. but now, of course, we must carry out our oversight responsibilities through the unsaddling prism of the christmas day breach of our
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homeland defenses by the terrorists. . quest this moved congress to act on recommendations to create the department of homeland security. that was to better cope with the
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threats that our country would face in the 21st century. i believe that this post-9/11 reforms have worked very well. the record shows that after the creation of the department of homeland security in 2002 and the establishment of the national counter-terrorism center in 2004, there was not a terrorist attack by islamic extremists on america's homeland for almost seven years. nobody would have predicted that on september 12, 2001. we have a lot to be grateful for. some of the most successful defenses of our homeland in my opinion have been truly amazing. the details of these remain largely unknown. two of those occurred in 2009
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with regard to to terrorists. arrested less encumbered with plans materials needed for devastating bombing attacks on the york city. but this was the most dangerous terrorist plot on our soil since 9/11. the interest in the sense of the consequences it would have had. it was only stopped by a brilliant, courageous, and cooperative work by our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security agencies. senator collins and i and other members of the committee had been briefed on the details. everything worked just as we hoped it would when we adopted the post-9/11 the legislation. there was remarkable agility,
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brilliant judgment, total cooperation between intelligence, homeland security, law enforcement, both here within the united states and throughout the world. notwithstanding, these remarkable achievements over the seven years after the enactment of the department of homeland security and some of the extraordinary defenses which occurred in 2009, the record also shows that in 2009, three islamic terrorists broke through our defenses, a man who murdered an army recruiter and little rock, ark. simply because he was wearing the uniform of the u.s. army. the doll house on who murdered 13 americans -- nidal hasan who
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killed 13 people in fort hood and abdulmutallab. there are clearly some things about our homeland defenses that are not working as we need them to. we need to find out together what is to win on and why and fix it. i know it is probably not realistic to promise the american people that we will stop every attempted terrorist attack on our homeland. but i feel very strongly that that must be our goal. it is certainly the standard that will guide our committee during this inquiry and the other we are conducting on the terrorist attack at fort hood and any recommendations for executive or legislative action that we make as a result of our inquiry. our purpose is to review the current state of the homeland
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security through these cases and to make recommendations for reform that will get our homeland, america, as close as possible to 100% secure from terrorist attacks. in the christmas day bombing case, there was so much intelligence and information available to our government that appointed to abdulmutallab's violent intentions that it is beyond frustrating, infuriating, that this terrorist was able to get on to that plane to detroit with explosives on his body. he was able to do so because of systemic failures and human errors. our responsibility is clear. we have to find what systemic failures were and fix them. if the air administration or we and our tool operations find
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there are personnel of the federal to government who did not perform up to the requirements of their jobs, they should be disciplined or removed. as is clear from the christmas day attack which almost killed hundreds, the fort hood attack which did kill 13, and the 14th of the zazi plot that saved countless american lives, the decisions of public servants who work to protect us from terrorists every day have life- and-death consequences. if we did not hold accountable those who made these human errors, the probability is greater that they will be made again. i have not called this hearing to knock down the new walls of homeland security that we build after 9/87. we have called it to repair and reinforce them so to better protect the american people from
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terrorist attacks. it is in that spirit that i think the witnesses, the director of homeland security, the director of national intelligence and others for being with us. i look forward to your testimony and your questions and answers. >> senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> every day, the men and women of our military, homeland security, law-enforcement and intelligence communities work hard to keep our nation safe. they serve on the front line of the war on terrorism and over the last year alone, their efforts have helped fort numerous terrorist attacks. -- helped thwart numerous terrorist attacks. but as the christmas day attempt
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shows, this must be strengthened. we dodged a bullet in the skies above the chart on christmas day. a mere fluke, and the state by the terrorist on that plane or a failed detonator prevented that attack from succeeding. the quick action of courageous passengers and crew helped spare the lives of nearly 300 passengers on flight 253. we cannot escape the cold, hard, fax. terrorists have not relented and their fanatical quest to frighten our nation's citizens and to slaughter as many americans as possible. their tactics continue to evolve. attacks inspired by al qaeda's violent ideologies including those by lone wolves or those
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perpetrated by smaller, on coordinated cells are incredibly difficult to deal with. the threats posed by american enemies continues to grow. our nation's efforts to defeat them must be nimble, determined, and resident. -- and resolute. this committee offers the most sweeping reform for intelligence communities since the second world war. the intelligence reforms and terrorist prevention act of 2004 did much to improve the management and performance of intelligence, homeland security, and law-enforcement agencies. the increase collaboration and information sharing has helped our nation present numerous attacks -- present numerous attacks.
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-- prevented numerous attacks. it is a work in progress. reform requires constant focus and attention to stay one step ahead of the threat we face. for example, despite the considerable improvements in information sharing, our intelligence community continues to rely on internal systems and processes that are relics from the days before reform. these systems have not effectively surfaced intelligence information so that analysts and officials can effectively identify threats in real-time. the president has asserted, and i agree, that there was ample, credible intelligence on abdulmutallab to warrant
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his inclusion on the no-flight list. whether this failure was caused y human error, court@@@@@@g&rrk >> we simply must develop systems and protocols to prevent these failures. consider what i believe to be the most obvious error in handling abdulmutallab's case. after his islamist connections in yemen were reported by his father, the state department should have revoked his visa. at the very least he should have been required to report to our embassy and explain his
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activities and answer questions before he was allowed to retain his visa. the extent has this authority. in fact, our law, the intelligence reform act protects the department from lawsuits when its officials revoke a visa overseas. but the state department failed to act. most disturbing the state department is also pointing fingers at other agencies to explain this failure. the president has now directed the intelligence community to determine which of the 400,000 suspected terrorists in the terrorist screening centers watch list have valid u.s. visas. but that response is not sufficient. the government should immediately identify and suspend the visas of all persons listed in the broadest terrorist
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database operated by the nctc known as the tide list. until a further investigation is undertaken in each case. these visa-holders with suspected connections to terrorism should shoulder the burden of proving that they do not intend to harm this nation or its citizens. and if they cannot meet this burden, then we cannot take the risk of permitting them the privilege of traveling to our country. but immediately revoking the visas of suspected terrorists is only the first step. the department of homeland security has an obligation to confirm the validity of visas held by every foreign passenger. this is done only in some airports now.
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instead, what happens now is that confirmation of valid visas only occurs once the passengers have arrived on our land. there is no technological reason why this cannot occur. we did not choose this war. it was thrust upon us by terrorists who are determined to destroy our way of life. our counterterrorism efforts must be tireless and steadfast. we must continue to build on the intelligence reforms already in place to make america more secure. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, senator collins. let's begin testimony with the honorable michael lighter who's the director of the national counterterrorism center. thanks for being here. >> it's my pleasure, chairman lieberman, members of the committee, it is a pleasure to come before the committee, again
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the committee that was most instrumental in reforming the committee in nctc. to open i want to offer what i hope is an absolutely crystal clear assumption, umar farouk abdulmutallab should not have stepped onto a plea on chris chris. -- on christmas day. we have to do better. as one of several attacks, several which you cited, we see again and we've been reminded again how unceasing our enemy is and how committed they are to attacking the united states and how committed we have to be in protecting americans. to begin, i'd like to give a short rundown of the bombing attempt and try to tell you from our perspective what we did miss. and i want to start by debunking what has become conventional
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wisdom to some, which is that this failure was just like 9/11. and, in fact, it was not. now, that does not make the failure any less significant. but it does mean that the solutions might be very different from what we approach our reforms post-9/11. it was not a failure to share intelligence. instead, it was a failure to connect, intergrate and fully understand the intelligence that we had collected. although nctc the national counterterrorism center and the intelligence community had long warned of the threat of al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula, we did not correlate the specific information that would have identified abdulmutallab that would have kept him off that flight on christmas day. more specifically the intelligence community as i said had highlighted the growing character of al-qaeda in yemen and the potential for it to strike targets not just in yemen but the possibility of reaching
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beyond yemen to the homeland. and we also analyzed information that aqap, al-qaeda and the arabian peninsula was working with an individual who we realized after the fact was abdulmutallab. and the intelligence community repeatedly warned of the types of explosive devices throughout the fall that was used in the attack in the ways in which it might prove challenging to screening in the course as it did in amsterdam. and despite that, again, we failed to make the final connections. the last tactical mile that linked abdulmutallab's identity to this plot. we had the information that came from his father saying that he was concerned that his son had, in fact, gone to yemen. that he was coming under the influence of unknown religious extremists. and he was planning not to return home.
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and we also had other streams of information coming from other intelligence channels that provided different pieces of the story. we had a partial name, umar farouk. we had the indication of a nigerian. but there was no intelligence, single piece of intelligence that brought that together nor did our analysts at nctc elsewhere bring that information together. as a result, as you both have noted, although abdulmutallab was identified as a known or suspected terrorist and is name was entered into our database, the terrorists identities mark or tide, the information that we associated with him at the time did not meet existing policy standards, those that were adopted in 2008 and promulgated in 2009 for him to be watch-listed, let alone placed on the no-fly list or selectee list. but let me be clear again.
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had all of the information the u.s. had available to it been linked together, his name undoubtedly would have been watch-listed. and thus he would have been in the visa screening list and the border inspection list. and whether he would have been placed on the no-fly or selectee list, then would have been based on the existing strength of the analytic judgments at the time. and as i've already noted, one of the clear lessons that i think we've learned is the need as the president has directed us to do to re-examine those standards for inclusion in those critical lists before people reach our borders. finally, mr. chairman, senator collins, members, without trying to make any excuses for what we did not do, as i hope i made clear, we didn't do things well or right. i do think it is critical that we note some context in which this failure occurred. and i thank you for your kind
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words for the intelligence community and nctc and law enforcement and homeland security in noting some of the success. -- successes. but we have to have more successes. each day nctc receives literally thousands pieces of intelligence related to terrorism. i'll tell you it's more than 5,000 pieces a day flown into our center. and we review literally thousands of days a day. again, more than 5,000 names a day that we review. and every day we place more than 350 people on the watch list. so although in hindsight we can assess with a very high degree of confidence that abdulmutallab was, in fact, plotting with aqap, we didn't do it at the time. although we must and will do better, because i believe we have the people who will make sure we do better, we must recognize as the chairman did that there is no single bullet. and, in fact, as the terrorist threat becomes more nimble and more multidimensional, as
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illustrated by the threats we've seen over the past year, we as well have to have a multidimensional multilayered set of defenses, intelligence, technology, international cooperation, law enforcement, military to keep our nation as safe as possible. with that i will turn the microphone over to director blair, but i do look forward to answering the committee's questions and most importantly i look forward to getting the committee's guidance on how you believe we can improve the system. >> admiral blair, it's incredible your cooperation has even gone to your testimony before this committee this morning. thank you. >> sir, i'm glad to be here to talk about this because you need to know and the american people need to know what we're doing and what we need to do.gcl and so thank you for inviting me to talk with you this morning. and let me echo director leiter's words that umar farouk
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abdulmutallab should not have stepped on northwest flight 253. the overall counterterrorism system did not do its job. it's in large part my responsibility. i told the president that i and the other leaders of the intelligence community are determined to do better in the future. and you've heard from dr. leiter the sequence of events. and you would be correct to conclude that the system that existed to protect the country was capable of stopping this attack. but it did not do so in this case for a set of reasons that i think we understand and that we are working right now to fix. and i should make it clear to this committee that it bears the responsibility for pushing this forward in this area. that the system that we now have was in due to great measure to the terrorism prevention act in 2004 which created my position at the national terrorism center
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such as the terrorist database data mark tide, the watch list, no-fly list and analysis against terrorist threats. and a great improvement in sharing intelligence information across the -- both the intelligence community and the entire government. so we shouldn't underrate the progress of the past as we move forward. but the threat is also evolving. and i would say we have a good capability to detect and disrupt the sort of multipurpose teams that take months to plan, rehearse, fund, provide the logistic support for an attack. but we are not as capable as we should be of carrying out the much more difficult task of detecting these self radicalized citizens of the united states, europe, other countries like nigearia, who are given a very simple mission, an advanced bomb to carry it out. or who plan their=]l own attack. last year as you mentioned,
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mr. chairman we stopped zazai and we also stopped fenton, smarty but hasan, bledsoe, we did not stop. and as you said we were lucky with abdulmutallab. so we have to improve our intelligence system further so that we can identify and stop these lone contacts with a minimum of communication and, frankly, with a lot more knowledge of how our system works due to the public discussion of it that has taken place. and as secretary napolitano will tell you we have to improve the intelligence component of it but the active defenses which we have, some of which depend on intelligence but some of which cannot depend on intelligence. so what are the improvements that we're making based on this incident and the other things that we've learned over the course of recent years? they really fall into four categories. they're currently underway but we will continue to refine them and work on them both short term and certainly over the long term.
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number one is changing the way we apply these no-fly critearias so that they're less restrictive, more flexible. while at the same time they continue to protect the civil liberties of u.s. persons. the no-fly criteria that we were working under on 24th of september -- or 24th of december of last year had been arrived at by a bureaucratic process that stretched across two administrations. it started in summer of 2008. they were implemented just before this administration came in and were reaffirmed by this administration and they were frankly too legalistic and rote process rather than having the flexibility to react to the situation, which they really needed. and we have -- we have fixed that and that's very important. number two, i need to assign more clearly defined responsibilities for analysis
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and follow-up of the information we now have. frankly, we had a situation in which everybody was responsible for working. everybody had the dots to connect but i hadn't made it clear exactly who had primary responsibility. who the secondary responsibility so when the time crunch comes, people know they can't go home at night until they carry that out so that's number two. number three we have to have an ability and we are doing so to adjust the resources as the threat shifts. as director leiter we had strategic warning of al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula's intent to send operatives outside of yemen and yet i allowed the analytical resources focusing on yemen to focus more on the internal yemen problem where we also had active threats to americans and to american interest. we did not add more resources, shift the emphasis and ensure both priorities were covered. and we need to do so. we are doing so.
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we're adding resources immediately and we're setting up a system so that we can adjust more to threats. and fourth, and you've alluded to this, mr. chairman, and senator collins -- we have to improve both the technical and the human ability to deal with this massive information that our terrorist analysts must distill and make sense to provide tactical level information on terrorists. although we have used tactical tools we have put them in somewhat outdated -- collins, we have a priority effort to re-examine those and make sure that we are going with best of breed, best that's available. we're both using outside experts as well as those that we have inside. these improvements that i'm making are not years in the making. we are working on them now. we've already made improvements in the two weeks since that attack.
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we have a press on them for getting short term ones done immediately and more important we will continue to work them dynamically over time rather than waiting for artificial deadlines to take place i've also convened a panel of experts that will both review exactly what happened in the december case. we've done preliminary inquiries but we need to take a more careful look and also that it will review the changes we're making to see if we're getting it right to tell us what we're not doing that we should do. it is important and i share your goal, mr. chairman, about the 100% goal that we shoot for. but we have to make it clear that we cannot give an absolute guarantee of identifying every single one of these terrorists. we need a system of offense and defense. go after them where they are. push our intelligence on all points.
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and then have defenses that are strengthend by intelligence but don't completely depend on it in order to defend our citizens. and we're dedicated toward pushing that 100% goal as quickly and as with much determination as we can. thank you, mr. chairman. i turn it over to secretary napolitano. >> thank you, admiral blair. secretary napolitano, good morning. >> members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to testify on the terrorist attack aboard northwest flight 253 on christmas day. i'm pleased to be here today with my colleagues, admiral blair and director leiter. as president obama has made clear, this administration is determined to find and to fix the vulnerabilities in our systems that allowed this attack to occur. our country's efforts against terrorism include the actions of dhs and of many other agencies as well as those of our international allies.
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i'd like to take a moment to explain and describe the dhs role in securing air travel. first, dhs is of and can be characterized as a consumer of the united states government's consolidated terrorist watch list, which we use to help keep potential terrorists from boarding flights and identify travelers who should undergo additional screening. within the united states, dhs performance the actual physical screening at airport checkpoints and provides further in-flight security measures. outside the united states, dhs works with foreign governments and airlines to advise them on which passengers may prove a threat and required security measures for flights inbound for the united states. tsa, of course, does not screen people or baggage at international airports. regarding the christmas day attack, umar farouk abdulmutallab should never have been allowed to board this
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u.s.-bound plane with explosives. the inner agency process to fix these vulnerabilities is well underway. and we are all working on it jointly. we welcome at the department the opportunity offered by the process described by admiral blair and director leiter to contribute to improving the federal government's ability to connect and assimilate intelligence. and we appreciate the work that they have done and the ongoing relationship that we have. we're also focused on improving aviation screening and expanding international partnerships to guard against a similar type of attack. i've submitted a longer written statement describing the various dhs programs that are at work to keep terrorists from boarding airplanes. but in terms of the dhs role in this case, the bottom line is this, he was not on the no-fly
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list which would have flagged him to be prevented from boarding nor was he on the selectee list which would have flagged him for secondary screening. furthermore, the physical screening performed by foreign authorities at airports in nigearia and the netherlands did not detect the explosives on his body. now immediately after the attack, dhs responded. we directed the faa to alert all 128 flights from europe bound for the united states of the situation. we increased security measures at domestic airports. we implemented enhanced screening for all international flights coming to the united states. we reached out to state and local law enforcement, air carriers, international partners and other relevant agencies to provide them the information they needed on the ground. in our reports to the president on what fixing -- on fixing what went wrong on christmas day, we've also outlined five other areas of action.
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first, as this incident underscores, aviation security is increasingly an international responsibility. that's why i dispatched deputy secretary lute and other top dhs officials on a multicontinent tour to meet with our international counterparts about airline and airport security. this evening i will travel to spain to meet with my e.u. colleagues to strengthen international security measures and standards. and we will include in that information-sharing technology and other related issues. second, dhs has created a partnership with the department of energy and the national labs. to use their scientific expertise to improve screening technology at domestic airports. third, dhs will move forward in deploying enhanced screening technologies like advanced imaging technology and explosive-trace detection machines to improve our ability to detect the kind of explosives used in the christmas day attack.
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tsa currently has 40 of the a.i.t. machines deployed now. we will deploy at least 450 more this year. fourth, we will and have strengthened the capacity of aviation law enforcement including the federal air marshal service. and finally, dhs has work with our interagency partners to reevaluate and modify the way the terrorist watch list is created including as mentioned how names are added to the no-fly and selectee lists. i am glad to be working with leaders like admiral blair and director leiter. in addition to this committee who have done so much to improve our homeland security apparatus. and i'm also grateful to the men and women of the department of homeland security who do so much every day to guard our country against attack. lastly, i wish i could tell you with all of this ongoing work and all of these upcoming
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actions that there will never again be another umar farouk abdulmutallab. i cannot do so. what i can tell you is that this administration and the men and women of the dhs are working 110% every day to minimize the likelihood of a successful terrorist attack against the homeland. and i'm proud to be with the department in that work. thank you for the opportunity to testify. and i look forward to your questions he. -- your questions. >> i thank for the three of you for the substance and your spirited comments. i do want to comment to my colleagues on the committee that the three witnesses have made themselves available for a closed session with the committee immediately following the public session. if there are questions that are asked here that cannot be discussed in public session. we're going to have 7-minute rounds of questions.
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let me just go back to the post-9/11 period and to say what i think is common belief now, which is that our response at that point was to the fact that there was not information-sharing going on -- there was enough information in the federal system that we should have found and been able to stop the attacks of 9/11. that's a personal conclusion. but it wasn't as we use the metaphor at that time together on the same board so the connections could not be seen. one of the great goals of the 9/11 commission legislation was to make sure that metaphorically speaking all the information came together on the same board so it could be seen. i think what we -- what we have learned painful now is that there is so much information that is being collected by the intelligence and other agencies of our government that it's not
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enough to put it on the same board. we've got to create systems to find out how to connect the information that we have, either technological or human. as you mentioned, part of what emerges from the christmas day bombing case is -- there was intelligence information about al-qaeda and the arabian peninsula being involved with someone umar farouk, not the full name but the beginning of his name. his father comes into the embassy in nigeria and says -- he's worried about his son umar farouk abdulmutallab. and there are references from conversations picked up by the nsa from al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula of a nigerian that they are going to use for an attack. obviously the father indicates a nigerian. and then somehow that didn't all come together. now, here's what troubles me, we live in an age which any one of
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us and our young children, our grandchildren now in my case, can go on their computers, go to google and search an enormous array of databases immediately. my impression and, director blair, mr. leiter, you respond to this, is that at nctc we don't of that ability now. you got a series of separate databases from different parts of the intelligence community and the government so that in that sense -- and you've got access to all of them, plenty of sharing. but there's not a program, a search engine right now by which you can by act or by a somewhat automatic software programming can have expected in this case, for instance, that there would have been a hit and an alarm on umar farouk abdulmutallab or umar farouk, nigeria, december 25th, am i right? do we not of that capacity within the nctc?
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>> senator, we do not of that exact capacity. but i would note that over the past several years we have worked with folks from across government and some of the private sector companies that you would expect that best technology. your answer is that is not as easy a problem as you probably would expect. i think we have some potential technological solutions on the very, very near term horizon that we're attempting to implement within weeks. and, frankly, we were surprised -- i was surprised at the extent to which other agencies' searches weren't hitting against very critical data sets that might have uncovered this and then highlighted them for nctc and others. >> director blair, do you want to add anything to that? >> i would only amplify on what director leiter said,
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mr. chairman, the search tools that we now -- that we now have depend on certain characteristics. and i don't want to describe them here but they also have blind spots that don't allow the sort of google-like sort of idea that we have from our own computers. several of those shortcomings came up in this -- in this case which we can -- which we can fix. i think that the other thing that i've learned from this is that -- almost all of our energy was focused on building these systems, hooking together, getting the search he can see. -- engines. we don't have enough of a testing regime so that we do the what-ifs before we have one of these incidents, put partial information in, see where it goes and fix those and see where it goes.
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and that continued self-testing is going to be a greater part going forward. so that we can make some of these mistakes for practice before we make them for real. >> okay. so you're with a real sense of urgency going after improving what i would call the search capacity across the database as you have automatically to come up with linkages; correct? >> correct. and i would just stress that this is not actually a new problem from our perspective. >> right. >> this is a thing we have been working with vehemence. we have not gotten to the point we need to get to and we're trying to accelerate that now. >> the other way to deal with this i believe the president mentioned or one of the reports did is to assign cases, suspected cases to people to follow. that's a tough thing to do. so i'd like to ask you to talk about it a little bit. in other words, presumably that requires at some point somebody
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has got to be concerned enough about picking a particular matter out of the thousands of cases that you add every day to your watch list concerns. let's take this case, that somebody would have had to say based on the father coming into the embassy, we got to follow this. or based on the intelligence stream that said al-qaeda arabian peninsula was working with somebody named umar farouk a nigeria and it would happen on december 25th. what then? do you have the human capacity to assign that people to chase these down and have a responsibility almost as if this was a police department and you were assigning a detective to pursue a case. except, of course, here it's not to try to find the murderer. it's to try to prevent a murder from happening. so what's our capacity to deal with this, with better use of personnel?
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>> mr. chairman, i think your question is exactly right. we do a very good job at hunting down the threats when we know it's a threat. the more difficult thing is to decide what's the threat in the first instance and hunting it down. there are two things to improve this. right now i have not had the capacity to do this in the way it needs to be done. because we are going to expand the scale of it, the breadth of the things that we chase down. we've been very good at chasing down those threats that come out of afghanistan and pakistan. we're going to be better now at chasing down those small bits of data that come out of yemen or north africa or east africa. so that's number one. number two is we are establishing with new resources -- the plan is to establish teams that have no responsibilities other than to do that. we're calling them pursuit teams for the very reasons you identified. to find those small bits and hunt them down until we either figure out what's going on or simply there is no other data out there to be applied to the
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problem. >> director blair? >> just for context, mr. chairman, i would cite two things not by way of excuses but by way of understanding. the only conversation on resources that i had with director leiter in the weeks leading up to christmas was a conversation a week before on how we're going to allocate a $30 million cut in the office of the dni part of which funds the nctc. so the general fiscal climate we were dealing with was one which was reducing resources to this. the second thing is, the pressure on no-fly lists several years before 2008 had been make them smaller. my cousin has a name on it and is getting hassled every time. and you can tell as you read through the -- as you read through the the guidance given to analysts that they were expected to cast a very fishy
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eye on the inclusion of lots more names. and the pressure was in the other direction. shame on us for giving into that pressure. we have greatly expanded the no-fly list from what it was on december 24th. and have done a lot more -- what is prudent is putting names on it just in case and then take them off as we don't need to. but the pressure was quite the other direction. as i say, i should not have given into that pressure was it was a factor. and we've certainly changed that attitude. and we have to maintain that over a course not just of -- not just of six years but of twelve years and until this campaign finally ends. >> director blair, i can't thank you enough for what you just said because it seems to me that in the process for deciding what watch lists people were being
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put on, we were using a standard that was, as you said, legalistic. it was a legal standard. govern the very words, the suspicion come from supreme court court cases that govern warrantless searches by police in the u.s. but we're at war with these people. and it just seems to me if somebody brings some information to the u.s. government that suggest in any way that a person is involved in terrorism, at least as justification for putting them on a list that will subject them to secondary screening before they board a plane to come to the united states, it's not being used as a basis for arrests. certainly not for a conviction. but this is a classic of the ongoing tension between security and liberty. and i appreciate your admission here and your commitment to change this.
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that i think we were airing too much on the side of the legalistic vision of privacy or even convenience that ultimately jeopardized the security of the majority so that's very good news and i thank you for it. senator collins? >> thank you, mr. chairman. good intelligence is clearly critical to our ability to stop terrorist plots. and that's why i'm very concerned about the decision to quickly charge abdulmutallab in civilian court because i believe that we by doing so have lost ability to secure more intelligence on him and intelligence that possibly would allow us to uncover other plots that are emanating from yemen.
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we know that those interrogations can provide critical intelligence. but the protections afforded by our civil justice system as opposed to the military tribunal system can encourage terrorists to lawyer up, to stop answering questions. and indeed i'm told that with abdulmutallab, once he was mirandaized and received civil lawyers, that's what he did. he stopped answering questions. so my question for each of you, starting with you mr. leiter, is were you consulted regarding the decision to file criminal charges against abdulmutallab in front civilian court? >> i was fought. >> mr. blair, were you consulted? >> senator colin, i've been a part of the deliberations which
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established this high value interrogation unit, which we -- which we started as part of the executive order. as part of the decision to close guantanamo, that unit was created exactly for this purpose to make a decision on whether the -- a certain person who's detained should be treated as a case for federal prosecution or for some of the other means. we did not invoke the hig in this case we should have. frankly we were thinking more of overseas people and, duh, you know, we didn't put it in. and that's what we will do now and so we need to make those decisions more carefully. i was not consulted. the decision was made on the scene. it seemed logical to the people there but it should have been taken -- using this hig format at a higher level. >> madam secretary? >> were you consulted? >> i was not.
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>> mr. chairman, i think that is very troubling. it appears to me that we lost an opportunity to secure some valuable intelligence information. and that the process that director blair described should have been implemented in this case. and i think it's very troubling that it was not. and the three key intelligence officials were not asked their opinion. i'd like to move to another issue that i placed in my opening statement. the facts surrounding the failure to revoke abdulmutallab's visa really troubled me because it appears that ultimately no agency considered itself responsible for this decision. the state department's spokesman asked when the state department did not revoke the visa, quote,
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because it's not our responsibility. it would be up to the national counterterrorism center to make the determination on whether to revoke a person's visa. it's not how i read the law. secretary napolitano, part of the homeland security act of 2002 gives dhs broad authority to set visa policy. and, in fact, it invests the secretary, the exclusive authority to issue regulations with respect to administer and enforce the provisions of the law relating to counselor officers in the united states in connection with granting or refusal of visa and says the shall shall have the authority to review and refuse visas in accordance with the law. so i want to get at the issue of why abdulmutallab was allowed to keep his visa.
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and who has the authority to look at those individuals listed on the broadest terrorist watch list, the tide list, identify those who have visas and take action to suspend those visas pending further investigation. whose job is it? mr. leiter? >> senator collins, i will admit when i was told of that authority that i don't from the state department that i did have that and i have since spoken to secretary clinton and it's clear the legal authority of revoking resides with the state department and the nctc does not have any authority to do so. to your question about have we refused advisorias against the entire terrorist identity data mark environment, we have. although the initial look was at the terrorist screening center and we have reviewed anyone who has a visa who has information
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on them on tide and whether or not we should recommend the state department that that visa be revoked. we've also been quite aggressive in front applying the no-fly criteria to individuals who have a visa using a, i would say, a less legalistic standard in applying those standards. finally, i do want to note that beginning in the late summer of july -- july of 2008, we began fully in conjunction with the state department reviewing visa applications in a way that i believe is far more advanced than that which was previously used by the state department and in conjunction with the state department nctc provides state, homeland security, fbi and cia some more advanced google-like technology to screen these visas more effectively. and i'm happy to speak about that more in closed session. >> thank you. director blair, who's job is it? >> i think you're putting your
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finger, senator collins, on a characteric of the combating terrorism effort that we need to tighten down with the strong enthusiasm for counterterrorism, the sense that we all have to be working on it. i think we did not drive some of these responsibilities as far as we should have in terms of no kidding, okay, everybody is -- everybody is helping but who is it at the end and i think you identified one more which we need to and are going to tighten right down so that primary responsibilities, support responsibilities and ultimate responsibility are made to -- are made clearer because there is a tendency to say, hey, i've got this new capability. let me help you. and we ought to do that. but we should not allow that to interfere with a clear understanding of who has the ultimate call.
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>> thank you, secretary napolitano, you do have some broad authority in this area. whose job is it from your perspective? >> well, it's under 428, the department has the authority, the legal authority, to review -- to refuse the issuance of a visa. state department has retained the ultimate authority to revoke a visa once issued. but i think all of us have a role, along with the state department in measuring preexisting visas against information or subsequently acquired information that comes into the system. that's part of the tightening that admiral blair just talked about. >> thank you, senator collins. those are excellent questions. i want to make two brief points with regard to the questions that you asked. the first is to say, excuse me -- i share senator collins'
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concern both about the decision to try abdulmutallab in a regular federal court as opposed to to a military commission because in my opinion, he's a prisoner of war, an enemy combatant. i am also troubled that the three of you were not asked to be involved in that decision before it occurred. and i want to say particularly as the chair of the homeland security committee that i'm troubled secretary napolitano was not asked to comment on that because there are obvious homeland security implications of a decision to try an accused terrorist in detroit, new york city or washington, d.c. as we can see most practically and recently by the recent request by mayor bloomberg $2 handicap million for additional security around new york around senator collins and i will convene a hearing in february which is the homeland security
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implications of the decision to try terror suspects in federal courts. the other point i want to mention very briefly -- i apologize to my colleagues on focusing on the visa question, i think senator collins has really put her finger on an important point. and we want to come back and raise a fresh question here which is whether the visa processing responsibility really ought to be with the state department. in other words, whether it should be with the department of homeland security. and whether it makes sense -- and this is not really a matter of foreign policy. in some sense it may be a waste of the time of foreign service officers to have them supervising them whether they should have a visa and it's in department of homeland security whether it's legitimacy of immigration or the threat of terrorism. so we're going to come back and do a separate hearing on that as part of this oversight.
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and i'm not inviting a response unless you wish one. as a matter of fact, i'm going to ask you to hold it until my time 'cause i don't want to intrude on my colleagues's time. i will call senators in order of arrival which is our custom. which is senator tester, mccain, ensign and bennett. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the folks who -- director leiter, admiral blair, secretary napolitano. thanks for being here today. i'll jump right to it. there's been some reports coming out of canada that suggest the increasing concern of radicalization of canadians with ties to the middle east and canada being a stopping point for terrorists who try to enter the united states. what i would ask is, what do you think of these assessments? how seriously should we take these reports? there's a canadian report to bring trained terrorists into the united states through canada.
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can you tell me what you think of that potential threat and potential what we're doing on it? >> senator tester, i think a lot of the answers of that question should come in the closed part of this meeting. i will say, however, that we've had extensive personal discussions with law enforcement and security officials in canada. not just in the wake of decembe÷ 25th but also in preparation for the olympics that will be held there. >> that's all right. we can do that in closed session. you feel the same way, that's okay. that'll be good. our borders are only as strong as the weakest link. we don't to panic and close the border because we have trade and we need to have a balance there but when folks can come into the country with explosives sewed into their clothes as happened on christmas, it means that we've got issues not only in
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airports but also reports. and it means the folks you talked about in your opening statements is critically important. i want to talk about the technology portion of this. secretary napolitano, you talked about this being an international situation as far as the screening goes. director leiter, admiral blair deal with the issues before they get to the point where they walk on the airport. is sorted through correctly and went through the sives right they can catch them before the screening. my question is is the screening accurate in other countries to be able to even catch -- i mean, admiral blair talked about the fact that these explosives were known about. this type of explosive. is the screening inaccurate to catch the technologies coming down the pipe even when we know about them? >> senator tester, i think the
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point is that there are multiple layers need to help no single which is 100% guarantee or a silver bullet. the layers when they act properly increase the likelihood that you will prevent something from happening. once you get to the airport, domestically, that includes explosive detection machines. it includes the advanced imaging technology. it includes law enforcement and it includes dogs. internationally it's different. we don't control in that sense international airports or screening procedures. and indeed, we don't even do the screening ourselves. what we do is if we have somebody on the tsdb list is advise that additional screening should be done. what we are doing now is embarking on a very aggressive international effort using this incident as the catalyst for all
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countries, all of whom have passengers who fly to lift their overall screening and airport procedures because indeed there's great variation around the world. >> okay. so what you're saying is at this point in time -- and we're talking generally here, the screening that goes on in foreign countries is not -- is not as accurate as the ones that go on here domestically? >> it depends on which airport you are talking about. for example, let's use skiple the airport in amsterdam. the screening there is not disimilar from the screening in the united states. and the screening that abdulmutallab went through is not dissimilar to what he would go through many of the airports in the united states. what we have added and are adding domestically are more canines, more advanced imaging technology. now, airports in other
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countries -- or other countries have resisted using some of those items because of other concerns that they have, about privacy, for example. this incident, however, like i said is serving as a catalyst to re-open that dialog particularly with the airports in countries where we have a large through-put of passengers to the united states. >> and i want to come back to that. i'm assuming there will be another round of questions. i want to talk -- just we're going to shift totally off of this just for a second while i've got you here. we all know what's happened in haiti over the last 7 to 10 days. it's been devastating. and that is an understatement. there's an issue about adoption of potential haiti children who have been left without their parents. we've got about five families right now that have completed all the paperwork to get the children from haiti. i need to -- and yet they are being held up.
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i need to get a commitment from you that the citizenship and immigration services, an agency within your department, will work with my office to help expedite our ability to get those kids out. as you can imagine, the constituency is very anxious. it's a terrible situation. i just need your help in making this work. >> senator, you have that commitment. but may i give a longer answer to that because i think the public needs an understanding of this. >> yes, absolutely. >> and this actually has been one -- the dhs can work at so many levels on so many things so the coast guard has been in haiti. fema has been helping. usaid has gotten help in haiti, customs and border protection and ice have been providing assistance. the issue of orphans is one that is tragic. and i think as we go forward and begin to learn the amount or the number of casualties, it is going to grow. >> yes. >> it is something that needs to be handled very carefully
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because there are many issues involved in terms of making sure that people -- now, i'm not going to say these five children, but other children that come to us are indeed orphans until all the search and rescue is done or other families are located. there are other issues involved as to whether the adoptive parents in the united states are qualified for adoption under the applicable law. there are issues about the health and welfare of the children when they're brought to the united states. many of them need to be immediately put into the care of hhs and checked over thoroughly before they can be moved. so we have formed a team. it's the state department. it's us. it's hhs as three of the big components to really work on this adoption issue because we all want the right things for these children. this issue is only going to grow over time. >> that's correct. and i appreciate the opportunity to work with you and your group of people on this issue.
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and i think the chairman's indulgence for pulling off-topic for a moment. thank you, senator. >> thank you very much for your questions and particularly the last one, neutrality tester. -- senator tester. we're all sharing your concern. next is senator burris. good morning. [inaudible] >> that it's crucial to recognize the contribution of odini and nctc and dhs. for making our homeland as secure as it is. so y'all are to be complimented for the work that you've done. and there have been numerous terrorist plots foiled since 9/11. some of which have occurred in my home state of illinois. so we're very grateful to you all for that effort.
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and i just wonder several questions that are running through my mind, is there a resource problem here he? is there a resource problem? >> senator, first of all, thank you for your kind words. the kind words we really want are just the thank yous when we keep doing things right and i appreciate the kind words today but this is not an occasion that we are happy about. >> i understand. nguyen. -- i understand. nguyen. we were facing cuts at the end of the last year thankfully with the director's help those have been avoided. and in order to do some of the enhancement of the watch list so we make sure that when you have an umar farouk you put that together with umar farouk abdulmutallab and all the information. and you have teams that can pursue the small bits of information rather than just the high profile threats. it does take more resources. and director blair has been extremely supportive of that as has been the white house.
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>> we have moved -- we have moved money and people in the near term to put more on -- to put more on helping nctc and there will have to be some adjustments in the overall budgets in order to sustain that. >> another question, i just wonder in our democracy, as i was watching the news on this issue, about the detroit bomber on the murder report, i just had some concern about what was being reported for future actions? and i don't know whether or not this is going to come up in the closed hearing or not. but i was concerned when the media was reporting where the airports are, they were now going to be screening from. so the simple response is, okay, if i'm a terrorist what am i going to do? i'm not going to be bothered --
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it's some information that we have to keep classified in terms of where the international screening is going to come from. it would not be knowledgeable to the general public. the americans demand our right to know but there's some things that are not going to make them safe and we know them and everybody else knows. >> i couldn't agree more, senator burris, that the discussion of the specifics of the measure -- the defensive measures we take are making it that much easier for people to evade our defenses and come in. the kind of hearings we're having this morning where you have, you know, responsible witnesses who think through what could be unclassified and what are classified i think are absolutely sufficient for the democracy. unauthorized leaks the this airport is good or -- i think are just -- i think the job of those of those who are working hard to try to defend us that much harder.
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it cost the taxpayer that much more and i wish people would just shut the hell up. [laughter] >> it makes sense to me because that was my immediate reaction when i see this list reported on television, what airports were now going to be putting in special screeners. which lead to another question that might not be answered here and i probably won't be able to attend the closed session because i have to preside very shortly. but i'm concerned about the possibility and the techniques that are now being used by the terrorists. i mean, i did see a movie just recently coming back from china -- there was a movie on the plane, mr. chairman. the movie was "the traitor." i don't know if anybody have seen that movie. it's about terrorists and how they were going to set bombs in america.
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i just hope we are anticipating all the various processes -- one time it was a shoot. -- a should you. and this time it was underpants. please disclose this for the record in our closed hearing. ... the offense, as you said, director blair, but we have to be on the offense in this regard. and i am sure that you are but i've just want to reemphasize that, because i can say for the record, i think about the small towns across america. i was a terrorist, i would not go after chicago or new york. you know where i would go? i would go to my home town of some trolly up, ill. centraliz
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-- centralia, illinois. is there a comment? >> >> one of the criticisms that we have talked about amongst ourselves is being reenacted as opposed to proactive all the time. of course you have to react and fix what went wrong. once you identify the problem you've got to fix it. but we also need to be thinking ahead to be proactive. that's why, for example, we've entered into this agreement to really get some of the best scientists in the world who are in our national labs thinking well ahead about the next generation, screening technology, and what it can show us. the other thing is, is the
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threat is constantly evolving, senator. when i came into office, i was receiving very little information about american or u.s. citizens that were themselves radicalized to the point of terrorism. that has changed over the course of the year. director leiter has already talked about the emergent threat out of yemen. so there's a constant evolving environment that we have to deal with, and be thinking ahead of. so the challenge for us, and it's a challenge for us at this table, it's a challenge for others, it's a challenge for the congress, it's a challenge for international partners, is to always be thinking about the next information that is being conceived. >> mr. chairman, just one quick point. i would like to comment on something the ranking member collins made in reference to where this person will be tried.
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and i understand that intelligence was gathered from this person prior to him giving his rights. so i don't know whether or not that could be disclosed to alleviate some of the anxieties in reference to whether not we're able to get any information from this young man, which i understand there was substantial information acquired prior to maranda. thank you very much. >> senator mccain? >> thank yes m and i thank them for their continued search service to the country. i think everybody knows the facts of the christmas bomber, a person buys a ticket with cash, one way ticket, his father has already warned the cia, the series of missteps that have taken place, led to the near
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tragedy. and i thank the witnesses for the gander at 10 -- candor in her forthcoming about the failure to the president said and i pokémon genuine seven, i repeatedly made it clear in public for the american people and in private with my national security team that i will hold my staff to our agencies and the people in them accountable when they fail to perform their responsibilities at the highest level. i'd like to ask all three witnesses, who's been held accountable? i will start with you mr. leiter. has anybody been fired, has anybody been transferred? has anybody been put on leave? >> senator, we are in fact conducting an internal review to determine whether not any of those should be pursued. >> how long will those reviews take place? it's fairly clear of attacks that happen, isn't?
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>> i think many of the facts are clear. i would correct the record on a couple of points. in fact, the fact is not that he bought a one way ticket that he bought a round-trip ticket. the fact that he is cached, frankly, is in africa completely and utterly -- >> that was copenhagen, not after. >> no, sir. >> if you think you're defending that we should have found -- should have been alerted to this individual, then -- >> senator, i apologize. >> okay. has anyone been held a couple? >> we have reviewed a number of people. >> admiral blair? >> you and i have a navy background, senator mccain, and you know that you do to sort of investigations when something bad is that the first is a safety investigation to fix the parts of the system that you get the word out and it doesn't happen again. the second is the accountability of part of the investigation.
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>> actually it's been my expect when the captain of the ship does something wrong, something goes wrong on his watch, the captain is relating the leader to don't go off without to the uss missouri, sir. >> the captain is sometimes really does sometimes he isn't. >> the captain is relieved until such time he is clear. i would be glad to go over naval history with you. my question is, has anybody been held accountable? >> we're doing investigations now so we don't hold people accountable based on bad information, but we do hold him accountable based on number one, what actually occurred, number to them what the standards who are expected to perform to work, and that's underway as i said in my opening statement that the system was capable of doing this, all the pieces do not operate the way they should. i personally have a large degree of responsibility for making sure those pieces are working. and we're working to make that happen. i don't feel good about it, and i'm fixing it. >> i wasn't asking whether you're fixing it or not, admiral
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blair. so far it's been several weeks. no one has been held accountable. madam secretary? >> well, as you know, senator, we do not prepare the no fly or terrorist list and we don't do the screening at international airports. however, i am the secretary of homeland security. and i think i share responsibility for the enterprise that has to happen to prevent this from happening again. >> i think you that i thank you, madam secretary. i understand, admiral blair, in response to senator collins, you were not consulted as to what venue the christmas bomber would be tried in, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> how budget, mr. leiter? >> no, i wasn't. >> secretary napolitano? >> no. >> so i guess i have to ask your opinion, admiral blair, should the christmas bomber be tried in civilian court, or should it be under military tribunal?
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since they wouldn't ask you maybe i should. >> i'm not ready to offer an opinion on that in open session. we can talk about that in closed session, senator mccain. >> senator, i honestly don't have a position. i have not focused on where he would be charged. >> well, unclassified information indicates that the christmas bomber was providing information that was necessary to try to crack this case, and when he got a lawyer he immediately stopped that information. and that's according to public documents. i do not have any classified information. if that's the case, i think it's a terrible mistake. i think it's a terrible, terrible mistake when it's pretty clear that this individual did not act alone.
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admiral blair, in your testimony you for the committee, you stated you would exercise your authorities to the fullest and withhold judgment on whether the intelligence reform act provided the dni with sufficient authority. now can you share with the committee whether he believed the dni has sufficient authority to manage intelligence issues that affect america's public safety? >> senator mccain, as this job continues, it's been five years now since the drug of national intelligence was established, i found that i find you discover new things that you have to fix as you go along. and this incident is exposing some of those. the authorities of dni i think you're due for were able to make
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the big pieces happen. there was lots of sharing of information in this case, but we're finding out some individual pieces in which i think more authority may be required. so the overall answer to the question is, i don't know quite yet at the authorities granted heretofore by congress have been adequate to make improvements happen. >> i think you. mr. chairman, i thank the witnesses that mr. chairman, i do find it interesting that apparently none of the three top individuals were consulted on a decision whether to put the christmas bomber into civilian court or, according to military tribunal, and i think whoever advised them, and i think the decision was a terrible mistake which could impact to defend this nation. that i thank the witnesses.
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>> thank you, senator mccain. senator ensign? >> thank you, mr. chairman. admiral blair, you said that this age ig was not convened. who made the decisions since now you were consulted, who made the decision to go ahead and mirandized the prisoner? >> that was a decision made by the fbi, team agent in charge on the scene, consulting with his headquarters and department of justice. >> who authorized them at the department of justice? how high up to discuss because i don't know. >> do any of the rest of you know? >> i don't know, senator. >> okay. secretary napolitano, you talked about in response to senator collins question about you have some responsibly, you have some authority that had to deal with the visas. and we understand that the state
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department, i guess, director leiter, you talk about you didn't know you had the authority, or didn't have the authority. >> i don't have the authority. >> has there not been the case in the past where somebody brought to you, in other words, have we not rejected any peace is? >> the state department has the authority. the state department has the authority to revoke the visa's. >> what i'm saying to you is, has no one in your organization before brodeur case where you thought there should be a decent rejected where you actually found out that you didn't have that authority before the christmas day bomber? >> we routinely provide intelligence to the state department to make that decision. >> that's not answered to my question. my question is, in other words, somebody who is within your organization, they had information. this person should be rejected. did you not then make a
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recommendation to find that you didn't have the authority before that? or nobody brought that information to? >> i think a spokesperson for the state's department was simply confused, no one in the state department actually thought that i had the authority to revoke visas because we don't. >> that's not what i'm saying. try to understand my question. is somebody in your organization before, brought to information about somebody who should be rejected? >> the answer is no because no one in my organization believes i have the authority to reject these is. >> so they know that already. you just didn't know it but everyone in your organization. >> i apologize, senator. my attempt at humor was lost at i joke with secretary clinton i didn't realize i had the authority because clearly i did because only the state's department was confused about where the authority would like. >> directosecretary napolitano,s has been brought up a light who is responsible for this colossal
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failure. in business, you understand that if there's not one person responsible for making certain decisions like if there are several people, then no one can be held accountable, and no one makes the decision. it has to do with whether it is a visa rejection or whatever. if no one feels like they are actually account, getting back to what senator mccain was talking about, if no one feels they are accountable, in other words, there's always google or accountable but no one person is accountable, the decisions aren't made and people don't know who is supposed to make the decision. is that being addressed in this old evaluation process of what went on? >> senator, yes. and a variety of ways, but i think admiral blair explained in his opening statement that one of the things that is being addressed is who has the responsibility to follow up on different lines of intelligence as they come in.
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>> and so are we going to have a clear set of this person is responsible for making that decision, is everybody going to know what they're supposed to do and what they're not supposed to do in the future i guess is the best way to answer that? and when will we have all those procedures in place to where everybody knows what they're supposed to and not supposed to? >> we have a 30 day deadline to present the established to provide authoritative proposed pieces of paper that can mean anything from the executive order down to intelligence community directive, which i would sign, or similar authorities within secretary napolitano's organization. so we will be quite clear as to who has responsibility for what -- we agreed -- >> a part of that, you mentioned the hig which was not convened and you said in the future, that absolutely will be convened. in any case like this, that is a guarantee from you.
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that's a guarantee from this administration that that's not going to happen in the future. for what i understand, even with the hig though you only use interrogation techniques that are approved under the army field manual, is that correct? >> the type of interrogation techniques will be -- will be calculated by the sort of -- the purposes for which we want to make that information available, whether it be law enforcement or for intelligence that it is intelligence, then yes, the techniques that are in the army field manual will be used. >> and that the public the army field manual is public. >> that's correct. >> this administration stop using any type of classified -- terrace can basically trying to the interrogation techniques that are in the army field manual since they are public, but if we use classified ones, in other words, keeping the
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terrorists kind of guessing what they were going to be going through it would be harder to train, wouldn't you agree? >> the experience we have so far the amount of information we from somebody depends on the skill of the interrogators and will have the very best interrogators on this hig unit. >> that doesn't answer my question. my question is, that terrorists are allowed to train because it's a public document, the army field manual is a public document that they are allowed to trade to those techniques. >> the terrorists know what the techniques are. >> but if they were classified, in other words, what the intelligence committee used to use as far as classified techniques, it's much harder to train to those, would you greet. >> i don't think it would make a difference, no. >> why do you think the intelligence community use classified technique before lex why do you think throughout our intelligence community they use those kind of technique before if they didn't think it was superior to the techniques used with the army field when you? >> we've looked at that quite carefully, senator, and we do not know whether that same
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information that was gained through extrajudicial measures could have been obtaining without them. i guess that something will have to disagree on. >> i want to get to one last point, because you made this comment that i thought was pretty stunning, that whoever it was was more concerned about what folks were thinking overseas who even use the word go when you were talking about whether or not to try this person in civilian court, to brandeis this person, and can you further explain what you're talking about the administration be more concerned with folks who are overseas and what their opinion of folks overseas was? >> that wasn't the context in which i made -- >> can you further explain what you're talking about? >> can you read me a little bit about what that was? >> that had to do -- it had to
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do with our being able to pursue both the threat to the united states coming out of yemen and being able to pursue a violent extremist activities or terrorist threats within yemen, yemen is no. we need to be able to do both at the same time. >> this was in response to whether or not he was going to be tried in civilian courts, and that's when you said we were more concerned about what they thought overseas, speck let me think back to that. right, i said -- i said when we were thinking about -- when we put the hig together, a name used, we were thinking of was terrace for captured overseas, and we did not think about that case in which a terrorist was apprehended as this one went in the united states and we should have thought of that. we should have automatically --
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we will not. >> thank you. thank you for clarifying that. thanks, senator ensign that i was going to suggest we could run a search engine on the transit of the hearing for word duh. i could find a. >> we have a search engine that could do that. >> thanks, director blair. senator coburn is next to be followed by senators carper. >> tank each of you for your service. you have a tough job. and when things go wrong, it's our job to help you figure out how to get it back. i think all of your dedicated to doing that, so i'm going to ask a few questions, and i've worked with my intelligence committee staff to make sure i stay within the bounds of what we can ask him here. i was going to attend the close, but i will wait until our thursday meeting to finish it. but a couple of questions for both director blair and director
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leiter. the intelligence community has largely been consistent and know that had all the pieces of intelligence been connected, this individual would have met the criteria for watchlisted had all been put together, would have met the criteria that however, there have been inconsistencies and views regarding what he would've been put on a no fly or select the list. you stated in your testimony it would've been determined by the strength of the analytic judgment but officials in your organization have said he would not have met the criteria for no fly or select the. and that's what they have reported to me. can you explain the criteria and whether not the information would have risen to the level of no fly or selectee? >> senator, it is not an easy yes, no question. >> i understand that that's what i asked you to explain. >> i think it does come down to where he would have been placed,
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selectee are no fly would have depended on what the analytic judgment was at the time. so looking at the signals intelligence, and looking at what the father said, you put that together and the question is would the analysts have said we have a potential al qaeda in the arabian peninsula operatives or we have operatives who may be boarding an airplane to use a suicide bomber, or this individual is involved in plotting around a simmer 25th to attack the united states. on that first one under the existing standard, i think is likely in the selectee but likely not in the no fly. it's more likely that he gets into the no fly criteria. is easy after the fact you look back and say clearly he should have been no fly, but it would have depended on what it was that putting all those pieces together about what kind of opportunity was, and what his intention was. i think from my perspective the right answer, senator, we shouldn't try to parse it so
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closely in the first degree. and we are to have standards that allow, frankly, a greater degree of flexibility that you don't have to be able to predict exactly when an individual is going to be, what he's going to do that if he has certain associations and is involved in any sort of operation activity, it's a pretty good answer, and that should be no fly. >> so we are to air on the side of caution? >> i think that is certainly -- >> and isn't not sure there's a lot of political pressure because of so many people on the no fly list, names that we actually reassess that in the recent past, and made it harder to put people on that list the? >> that absolutely correct, senator. >> director, in your testimony today you said that mr. abdulmutallab was identified as a known or suspected terrorist that he was identified as a known or suspected terrorist. and entered into the list, the
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derogatory information associated with him did not meet the existing policy standards. for him to be watchlisted, let alone be placed on the no fly or selectee list. so here's my question for you. can you explain how someone who you have said was identified as a known or suspected terrorist, and about whom you have required -- to have required biographic data, does not meet the criteria for him to be watchlisted? >> yes, senator, and i want to make clear at the beginning, we made mistakes and not associate with all that information with him that and obviously, at that point would have been in the care screen watch list. we have a not significant number, roughly 100,000 individuals who have some association with terrorist groups. they may be family members or they may have lower levels of derogatory information.
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that standard is simply lower than what was adopted in august of 2008, and promulgated in 2009 or inclusion in the official watch list. so it was simply a matter of the data that we associate with, and not being that higher standard. >> secretary napolitano, thank you for your service. i'm pretty concerned with a couple of things going on at tsa. and i would refer you to an article yesterday in "the wall street journal" about body scanners that i don't know if you have seen it. >> i have not. >> i would recommend it to you. the other thing that i wanted to raise with you, which gives me great pause, is the fact that when the ig looks at what tsa is doing in terms of screening techniques in terms of the equipment, what we have is a city to meet your own standards as we installed equipment.
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and i would caution, and i'll have this conversation with you privately based on information would've looked and gleaned from ig reports, and also the experience we have seen, that as we respond to the public outcry for us to do more that the potential to waste a ton of money on something that's not going to be qualified to actually change the outcomes of this past december 25. so i just raise with you, that i am highly concerned about that. i also come as a medical doctor, and highly concerned about the exposure were are going to put people to and i'm also highly concerned the technology we have today wouldn't have stopped as even if we had full-body scanners. and use that and at that, we would not. i would love your comments. >> without commenting on a wall street journal article that i did not reject it, i can say with respect to both gao and in ig report on the scanners, that
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they were looking at a limited sample of a earlier iteration of the technology. the technology is clearly evolved rapidly over time, but we are continuing to push the technology. that's why we've asked not just our department but the department of energy and the national labs to get involved. they are from the objective evidence, the scanners that are being deployed now clearly give us a better chance of picking up, the embattled, non-metals, powders, or liquid, that somebody may be trying to get on a plane. >> actorly. >> we can talk in a classified setting about that, sir. >> what i will do then is based on analysis of my staff on operational testing of your screen technology, i will send you follow questions, if i'm a bigot if you would get those back to me fairly soon i would appreciate.
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>> we would be happy to do so. >> thank you. thank you again for your service. >> thank you very much, senator coburn. senator carper had to leave for a moment. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for having this hearing and i want to add my welcome to the witnesses who are here. i've been concerned about privacy and civil liberties in all of this. as president obama has made clear, we does in our counterterrorism system and in human errors have created gaps in our nation's defense. it is a vitally important we address these gaps of course quickly, and the question is, how should -- we should not sacrifice our principles nor undermine our long-term
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strategic efforts against al qaeda and other terrorists. so i'd like to make two points. first, congress, working closer with the administration, must protect privacy rights and civil liberties while trying to improve our nation's defense. second, we should be mindful that passenger screening technologies, better databases and different procedures alone cannot ensure the safety of our flying public. i believe that we should enhance our international partnerships, use imagination and risk-based thinking and exploring potential threats, and give our security work across the range of tools romme training, and support it needs to protect the american people. secretary napolitano, you are
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tasked with, quickly, increasing the use for technology and air passenger screening. consistent with privacy and civil liberties. my question is, how involved will dhs privacy and civil liberties office be, as new technology such as the full body imaging is deployed more widely? >> very involved, senator, right now. have been involved from the beginning and terms of how we deal with privacy and some of the objections raised, particularly with respect to the advanced imaging technologies. you know, i would iterate face the screen, the person reading the image is not at the place where the screening is done, but
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-- so there's a great deal of privacy in that regard with respect to individual identity already built into the system, but even as we move forward, we have our office of privacy and the office of civil rights and liberties engaged in the process of a decision-making. >> director blair and director leiter, the action statement also requires your organizations to improve technology related to intelligence and to enhance watchlisted capabilities. unfortunately, the privacy and civil liberties oversight board which was created by the intelligence reform act to protect americans private citizens and civil liberties has not been set up.
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my question to you is, how will your agencies ensure that corrective actions in response to the christmas day plot take privacy and civil liberties into account? >> senator, let me say that i think that that panel should be manned up and started that it would provide a very valuable service. we do have our civil liberties and privacy officer very much involved as we consider the changes that i described in my testimony, but i would take your question one of the direction. and that has to do with families and the personal effect of what we're talking about. we have been pretty much about standards and regulations and screening and so on. the chairman introduced me to members of the families and some of the 9/11 victims before this hearing, which reminds us, there are real people involved in the stuff, not just big
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bureaucracies. i'm also reminded that it was a father who came into the embassy and talked about his son that he was worried about what gone to yemen and was potentially falling under radicalism. window last fall there were five young men from northern virginia went back to pakistan and with her parents, their families who came in and told authorities about them, so that they could be -- they could be identified. while we talk about all the responsibility of government and everything were doing at the bureaucratic level, i think concerned, rouse citizens, families, are an absolutely key part of keeping ourselves safe, that we should not either underrate or neglect. and it's a very proper emphasis. so when we're dealing with families, we need both to rely on their help and to make sure we're not violating their civil liberties that they expect as americans.
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>> director leiter? >> senator, i fully agree with the view that we have to have civil liberties as a central tenet in all of this. and the directors review panel that he set up include for individuals, one of whom is a civil liberties protection officer that we've had the office to review the watchlisted we have made. the one thing i would know though is it's very easy for me to recommend secretary napolitano to put whoever on the no fly list that there are enormous, and i think unacceptable cost to doing that. so what we need to have is an agreement among the executive branch and members of congress about what the proper balance is it because there is a balance that was struck previous two decentered with it and i think, frankly, we're now being told that a different ounce should be struck. so i am very eager to engage in that discussion with his committee and other committees to make sure we hit the right
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balance. because i don't want to be here after the fact again saying, well, if only we could have done this. >> director blair and director leiter, according to a 2009 information sharing report to congress, dni and ctc had not completed their ise information sharing environment privacy protection policy. dhs has developed its policy. my question is, what is the status of dni and ctc developing their policies? >> senator, i'm not sure exactly what policy that refers to burt i will have to check and get back to. were very vigilant about getting those policies out. so let me find out whether shortcoming is that was referred to in the report. >> thank you. director leiter? >> senator, i think is one consolidated policy that we're
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working on that and will take up for the record, and clearly especially in light of these events, and has to be completed so you understand what the rules or we are applying. >> thank you so much for your sponsored. >> senator levin? >> chairman, i add my welcome to the witnesses. abdali someone at dhs flag mr. abdulmutallab for extra immigration screening while the plane was in flight. is that correct? >> yes. >> and what triggered that? >> let me, if i might, senator, explain the process. customs and border protection, when it gets a passenger list, pushes out to the immigration group, known as the aip and a
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former airport, anybody that appears on the terrorist watch list or the no fly list. the no fly list is a list given to the carrier. and basically it says, don't put this guy on a plane to a terrorist list says to a foreign airport, for government, you should put this person into more secondary screening, whatever that happens to be. now there is other information that customs has that involves whether that person should be questioned before they are admitted into the united states. it's the difference between whether they should be allowed on a plane, which is really a tsa, national different standard -- >> automatic process? >> yes. versus is that other information that should be explored before when they are here before they're actually admitted into the united states.
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smack i understand that this was a regular, routine process. >> it was a regular, routine process. based on a regular routine process at that time, the information on the list that which have led to the state department that they would have something they would have pursued when i got to detroit. >> that was your dhs agent in amsterdam, that they have access to that same information? >> he was given -- no, he has access to the no fly and the terrorist watch list. >> should he not have access to the type list? >> nine airports. >> should they not have access to the titleist? >> senator, let me come if i might take that into bytes. one, with respect to that particular portion of a state department list, that listed him, it's known as the p. 3-d,
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we have changed that in light of december 25, to push that forward likely to the terrorist watch list, like we do the no fly list. but the entire type list, you, the entire type list includes people who were previously accused of bringing in the wrong type of hamp across the u.s. mexican border, a huge list of an equation or the understanding, we need to have with the congress is, where is customs done? where is admissibility? where are all those types of questions done, the staff, the resources, etc., for those questions is domestic. >> the information that was pushed forward to your immigration folks here in this case, now is being pushed forward to your dhs agents and other cities, is that which was thank? >> yes or. >> so this man would have been subject to extra inquiry and
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amsterdam, if the current system had been in place then? >> yes, sir. >> great britain did not allow this man to have a decent. do we share information with great britain or other e.u. country as to who's on their list? >> we share some, but that's one of the reasons that we have embarked on an international effort, is because of that information sharing needs to be tighter than it is more real-time, then it is and more complete than it is in the air environment that. >> if i may just clarify, he was denied his visa for non-terrorist reasons. the british did not sure and i spoken with my british counterpart, did not have information to associate with terrorism, other than that which we talked about in the signals. >> we are now working with other countries to share information, about people who are on our should be on watch list, is that correct? >> absolutely, senator.
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>> how many people were recommended th watch list the way he was by our embassy? that were not added to the watch list in 2009. >> senator, i will have to take that for the record that i will say it is quite routine that the field assembly makes a blanket recommendation for his inclusion at all levels of the watchlisted the opponents are then applied to see if he is qualified. >> i understand that i did want to know approximately, how many people were recommended to go on the watch list by our own people in our embassies that were not added to the watch list? >> i will take that for the record. >> you don't have that approximate number with you? >> nose or. >> -- no, sir. >> how many that were on the watch list last year, approximately, were allowed into
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the country? >> who are on the watch list? is very significant number. is to give you a snapshot, of course, the watchlist is approximately 400,000 things. out of those i believe only approximate 14000 were selectees and only 4000 no place. so a very significant number. what they have traveled to the united states, and most would have been met at the border with some sort of secondary inspection. >> it would have been a large number that would not have been? >> that would have been allowed in that it would have been a large number allocable to be allowed into if they would have been turned away at the border, i can't give that number. >> that sort of instinct of a troubling, is it not quite. >> senator, i think in one way it is, and i think that goes right back to the standers. what are the standers, have we set them so low that we have too high a bar to get somebody into that no flights selectee listed for they get to our shores? >> i'm talking about the watch
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list. we don't know exactly how many came into the country who were on the watch list. >> no. i will tell you that when people come to the country, that are on the watch list, it is because we have generally made the choice that we wanted them here in the country for some reason or another. >> one other question. the white house opposes that ultimately place on the no fly list would have been required to keep mr. abdulmutallab off the plane inbound from the u.s. homeland. that he would've had to to been on the no fly list. according to the white house reporter however, in the next section of the report on the visa issue, the report acknowledges that mr. abdulmutallab's visa might have been revoked if he had been successfully watchlisted. did his visa had been revoked, he would have been prevented from boarding the plane. so is there not inconsistency of those to comment in the white house report? >> no, sir. , because in fact, as a general
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matter, individuals who have had their visas revoked, this may not be -- this may not be known to people who put them on the aircraft. so not only must the visa be revoked in many instances, they must also be replaced on the no fly list. and that's not automatic? >> i'm happy to talk about that more in close session. >> that is a classified question as to whether someone who is visa is revoked is automatically put on a -- >> the process is definitely -- >> not the process. i'm saying, is that the goal? >> yes. >> that is a golden. >> the goal is anyone who has a visa does not get on a airplane. >> thank you. >> senator mccaskill. >> thank you, mr. chairman. to some extent, if some of this has been covered i apologize that i want to make sure i understand about, and maybe guys aren't the right witnesses for
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this. this may not even the right committee for the. i don't know if this is justice, i don't know if it is armed services that it may be the armed services that the decision to where terrorists try to do our country home, where they are tried. and where they are processed. and i want to make sure i can with the president is before december 25. it's my understanding that there is no precedent in this country that anyone has ever been apprehended on our soil for a terrorist act and he really got into the military system. is that correct? do you although? >> i think the right witnesses in the department of justice, senator mccaskill that i don't know the answer to this. >> it's my understand, obviously a number of terrorist have been prosecuted in civilian courts in this country and there were a couple under the bush administration that ultimately were taken to military courts that, after they were initially arrested, and arraigned in our civilian criminal court, and i
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guess what i'm trying to figure out is the process here. and if we got a process. my understanding, mr. blair, earlier you testified that you were not consulted about the decision as to whether or not this is going to a sibling cord or a military court? >> that's not what right. i was not consulted whether the high interest interrogation group was deployed, so the questioning of abdulmutallab would be either admissible in federal court over was being exploited for intelligence purposes that's related to where they would be tried but not exclusively that we would like to be able to do both that we would like to get the information that would help for intelligence purposes and have evidence that could be used against the person in a federal court. if we have to make a choice, then that ought to be made at a
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higher level with all other of the considerations that you are talking about. >> i think, my sense is the american people want is for our military and our intelligence and our law enforcement community to have all the tools possible to get both good information and justice. >> exactly. >> and i thank all the tools are very important, but i think we are going to lose the ability to use all those tools if we don't reassure the american people that there's a process in place that these decisions are being made with the right people in the room. and that's -- i mean, i don't need to be derogatory to my friends at justice, but i can't express in my life where fbi takes over, and nobody can talk to them. they just take over. and what i'm worried about is, can we reassure the american public that at this moment of
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decision, that's why i said also that the suspect was not brandeis for a long period of time. >> not for the initial interrogation, that's right. >> and the reason he was not brandeis is because first of all, we didn't need his confession or his statement because we play of witnesses in terms of prosecuting them. and cyclic and we had opportunity to get more actionable intelligence information. >> i don't know -- the decision was made on the scene, the interrogation was done in the decision was made on the scene again that evidence out to be taken for trial at the consultation which was not complete. so that's basically what happened and it should've been a more wider process than being made on those never grounds. >> i am very proud of our justice system in this country that i'm very proud of our
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military in this country, and i know if the two of them work together, we can punish these people the way the american people expect them to be punished. and we can get good information. these are not mutual exclusive goals. i do think that what's happening because we don't have enough information about how these decisions are being made, people are assuming the worst. that we are immune to the calling a public defender and sang god, we want to make sure you don't say anything they can increment yourself, and how can we coddle this guy that tried to book these people on this airplane. i don't that's not happening. i've been around too many interrogation to know that koppel is not the word that would come to mind. but i think that we are failing and explain to the american people how this process is working, and i would certainly ask you, secretary napolitano, and all of you, and your high level meetings to discuss this process of the decision-making
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at the point of apprehension. if you're going to go down the path of immediately going into military custody, we have never done that before, i don't believe in this country, then i think we need to flush that out. and i think even though there's a lot of things we can't share with the american people, because it will hinder our ability to catch the bad guys, there is a process we can share with the american public that they will understand that everybody wants is the same thing. we want to catch these guys and we want to put them away where they can never hurt anyone for as long as we can possibly do it. add in some instances, we want the death penalty. and i think we need to be very close that we all have the same goal here. this goal should unite our country, not divided. mr. chairman, the remainder of my questions i have for a closed session to. >> thank you, senator mccaskill. we're going to do a quick second round as if we still have time
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within the generous commitment time you have given us to go in a close session. very briefly, the statements that you made, admiral blair, -- senator carper? for your age you remain very agile. i heard you on the way and moment away. why did you go ahead and after questions? >> thank you very, very much. let me start off by saying i know you but well but the other two i don't know well. appreciate not just your service but your forthright sponsors to us. in my old job, secretary napolitano and i want to check up on my cargill and bowles was to focus on excellence on everything we did.
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i used to say to my cabinet, the folks on my staff, governor's office, if it isn't appropriate we get better. if it isn't perfect, make it better. by failing -- i had a chance to see literally house, tens of thousands or maybe of hundreds of thousands of people trying to move in and out of this country from all drugs, going through security, checking their bags, having ids checked again and again, and i thought to myself, my god, what a challenge to try to know who all these people are, to make sure they are who they say a a.r.m. make sure they don't have on their bodies or in their luggage the stuff that's going to harm somebody else. what a challenge. it's been over eight years since 9/11. and we have been facing these challenges literally every day. since that time.
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and we've been lucky, but we've been smart. but we ain't perfect. and we need to be as close to perfect as we can be. you know that and i know that. our job here is to conduct oversight, to point out and help you point out what you have not done well, and to find out what you need to do differently. to reduce likelihood that we have another guy with something issues or his underwear, as with the intent to do harm. one of the questions i want to ask you, is what do we need to do differently to enable you to do more. and we spent many a day together here several years ago with the nine 9/11 commission sitting right where you are sitting getting a whole bunch of ideas and recommendations that we acted on almost all of them. it seems to me, and i'm close with this, among the mistakes that occurred, one with a father
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distraught father came into our embassy in nigeria, to report that his son was going the wrong way, whoever took that information down as i understand it, may have passed along the information with the name of the person, the sun, may spell. and i'm told that created some problems within the intelligence community and made a more difficult for us to check the connect the dots. i understand back and forth between what my colleagues, and i think admiral blair, that the idea that somebody was using cash to pay for an airline ticket coming out of nigeria, friendly, they don't all have credit cards. and using cash that may not be a strange think that the idea this guy had no luggage, i can understand how a nigeria that might not raise a lot of eyebrows that maybe he should have in amsterdam, but if we have the right spelling of this
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guy's name, and if somebody along the line, maybe an accident had picked up this was a cash purchase and there's the luggage, maybe that should have helped us. and the last thing i want to say is, on the full body scan, the technology side here. we have a pretty good idea how to stop guys like this fellow that try to blow up the plane over detroit. the technology is there. and i think they can be addressed, have been addressed that we need to buy them, we need to find them, we need to deploy them. we need to make sure the folks that need to be trained to use them properly with respect to privacy, that they are in place. now what can we do to help? >> well, senator, i just want to say thank you for your comments, and i think that there will be budget implications moving forward looking at that. secondly, you know, my view is, and i want to go back to a point
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that senator akaka asked me, is the privacy versus security issue that gets raised in connection with the whole body scanners. we do, as i said, look at privacy issues from the get-go, but ultimately, the question is what do we need to do to protect the security of the fly public, even as we take some measures to do it at privacy. but security is the number one concern. one thing that this committee, and the congress can do, however in addition to that, instead of public expectations. we are doing and will continue to do everything we can do to prevent this kind of event from ever happening again from whatever source, anywhere around the world domestically. but there is no one silver bullet. yes, we can push some more state department material out to nine
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airports around the world, and we have. but even if we had, that's just a tool for additional screening. that doesn't necessarily prevent someone from getting on a plane. yes, we can put more people into secondary screening, but that totally clogs up the travel system and lest that's informed by intelligence that has been connected. so helping the public understand that everyone is working on this, there are multiple layers involved, but no single one will be the sole answer. if there were, it would already be employed. >> i'll ask her -- offer a couple as a former part of my so. if you have a bad it might be your classic that i can say the men and women were doing the counterterrorism mission field away. and frankly, the hardest thing about this entire experience for our organization has been the peoples and, hey, this is a nine to five job that i haven't met somebody who thinks it's a nine to five job yet.
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but in terms of specific actions, i think the issue about standards for inclusion of the watch list and in need of a good conversation between the executive and the congress on determining what that ballot should be between security and civil liberties is incredibly important. this committee plesac evil in helping us set that spot in that balance. second, i think screening as secretary napolitano know so well, remains critical. it is a critical tool because i simply am not going to fight all the bad guys. and i don't want us to overrun the lessons of this case we did have pieces and we should have connected umar farouk because there will be other instances where different name, different passport, we might not identify them. so we need to have that multilayer defense. finally, in terms of making sure we learned lessons from several incidents and not just want your going back to issues of fort hood and domestic radicalization, we have to and the congress was and he knows important role, and ensuring
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that our american muslim popular and understand and we need to partnership between the government and these communities to identify the individuals like adolphus on our carlos bledsoe, before they actually pick up a weapon or pick up an explicit and strike. that isn't a lesson directly out of 1225, but i think as we see a morphing thread and we need the same agility you show jumping and nurture. we need to be agile and that's going to require our partnership with these committees and not an adversarial relationship that i think congress to make critical role there. >> sir, i would just add the request that you continue to keep the pressure on us. i find that -- >> that i promise we will do. >> well, freda, i think the pressure was sort of going the other way in the last couple of years. things are going to be well, you have to be people on the no fly list. why are you searching grandm

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